I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
Imagine the discipline of choosing to be h-a-p-p-y each and every morning. What a phenomenal practice to commit to. You wake up to make your coffee, the cream is gone; you are tired and easily agitated, ready to yell at an innocent bystander (your partner, your kid, your cat), and then you remember: I am choosing happiness.
You have to remember this choice. It’s a choice. Happiness, kindness, compassion: these are cultivated skills. It’s easy to be happy when the world is easy. It’s a choice to be happy when you resent your boss, are hungry without enough cash, are hurt by a close friend, or even filling out a college application - - all while choosing to be happy.
Now, I don't mean skip along and disassociate.
Think about the rudimentary steps of choosing to be happy when upset. It might go something like this:
1. Anger flares and you are angry.
2. Stop long enough to realize you are not your anger (sadness, bitterness, etc. This is a tricky step.)
4. Choose another emotion
5. Do the best you can, today *
*That means being okay with how well or how miserably you make your choice.
I have been totally upset and "choosen" to be happy. Now, I might make that choice - but the reaction and the reality I am having and the chatter of my mind is still back on how pissed I am. Practice makes perfect. Excellence doesn't come overnight. So maybe I am only 3% happy and I have to hang on for dear life until the other 97% catches up. This is not magic. This happiness is work- every day.
The recent Pixar movie Inside Out is a great and easy speaking-metaphor about picking what response you have to the world. Often times we may not even know that we have taken so long to choose the peptide of happiness, we cannot find it. (Yes, your emotions are a chemical reaction. Read more). Choosing to see the glass as half full, the driver next to you not as a moron, your mother-in-law not as a heat-seeking missile are all choices. Choosing to see your Self as good enough, lovable enough, worthy enough is a choice.
But we can start with instagram poses. #withcompassion
Then graduate to smiling at the cashier in front of us, today, who is working at a job she may or may not like, in a life that may or may not be easy, for no reason other than we are choosing to be happy, even if we have to fake it until we make it. And when we choose to be happy, we are choosing to share that choice with others. How about that for instant-gratification? Instant kindness. Watch the smiles grow.
Happiness: Choose it.
“Look a little deeper, we are all connected.” – MC Yogi
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